Newsletter Archives

The monthly Sing For Joy newsletter contains a letter from the program's host, Pastor Bruce Benson, along with a listing of music selections for each program and the corresponding scripture readings. If you'd like to receive a complimentary subscription, fill out our online request form for either the print newsletter or the electronic newsletter.

July 2018 Newsletter (Year B)
Singing Silently, by Pastor Bruce Benson

Not everyone who is not singing is not singing.

I am going to defend the (non)contradictory statement above by appealing to a pair of hawks and a hymn festival. I have been seeing the hawks regularly this summer as they navigate an aerial obstacle course through the branches of the tree tops in my backyard. They are cooper’s hawks, a bird that preys on other birds, so part of me is dismayed to have them nesting nearby. However, I have noticed that other birds seem to know when the hawks are hunting and when they are not. When they are hunting, my back yard is virtually silent; only the blue jays — they must be large enough or feisty enough — keep chortling regardless of hawk behavior. It isn’t long, though, before the wrens, robins and cardinals are singing away. This might be an example that disputes the statement above, because when the song birds are not singing it sure seems as if they truly are not singing. But what about people?

If you are a regular reader of this newsletter, you will remember that just a couple months ago I called attention to a hymn festival about to be led by my
Sing For Joy colleague, John Ferguson. Well, that event has now come and gone. As a participant seated on the stage that evening, I had a clear view of the audience/congregation gathered in the chapel pews at St. Olaf College. Perhaps I should specify: I had a clear view of the faces of those in attendance. That means that anyone who decided not to sing along on the hymns was noticeable to me, and I did see a handful of such people. The human eye, you know, is attracted to difference: a red flower in a green garden, a moving animal in a still forest, and yes, a closed mouth in a room full of singers. I have learned over the years that people who don’t sing aren’t necessarily objecting to what is being sung; reasons for not singing are numerous. And I learned after the hymn festival that in at least one case the reason for not singing — no, let me be more precise: the reason the voice was not singing — is that the spirit was singing with so much emotion the voice would not work properly. See? Not everyone who is not singing is not singing.

I also learned later about someone who chose not to sing on one or two of the hymns just so that she could enjoy basking or floating in the lovely sea of sound that was making her feel buoyant. She too was singing with body, mind and spirit, but not voice. Not everyone who is not singing is not singing. 

I have no way of knowing whether Sing For Joy programs you hear via radio or digital streaming ever affect you the way some people were affected at the hymn festival. The experience of being present in the same room with hundreds of other singers can’t really be captured and shared in a recording. Still, it is our hope at Sing For Joy that the words and music we share each week will put a song not just in your ears, but in your soul.

Peace be with you,




Pastor Bruce Benson

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July Playlists and Programs

Playlists are ready now, and each show will become available to stream on the Friday before the week begins.

July 1, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 13 (Year B)

July 8, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 14 (Year B)

July 15, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 15 (Year B)

July 22, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 16 (Year B)

July 29, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 17 (Year B)

Connect with Sing For Joy!

We love hearing from listeners! Share with us how Sing For Joy plays a role in your life and we'll print responses in future newsletters. Join in the Sing For Joy conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Write to us.

Thank you to everyone who supported Sing For Joy during our spring fund drive. We set an ambitious goal of $11,000 and were less than $1,000 away from meeting that, with a total of $10,190 brought in. Your gifts make the production of Sing For Joy possible, whether you give during our spring fund drive or throughout the year. Thank you!


Lanterns and candle on altar of Boe Memorial Chapel at St. Olaf College
Memorials and Honorariums

Thank you for your gifts in memory and honor of those close to your heart.


Bill Blanchard

Jim Braulick, my husband

Sebe Brunk

Parks Byrum

Mary Helen Detmer

Mary Anne Dettman, who enjoyed Sing For Joy all her life

Matthew John Groettum

Joy Hall

Mrs. Jane Ingles

my father, A. Lloyd Owens died unexpectedly on July 8, 2017. He was a church organist and loved Sing For Joy.

Dorotha Polovina

Dr. Olive (Jacobson) Theisen, who died August 19, 2017 ("Ollie")

the birthday of Rev. A.D. Tice, a long-time listener who received abundant joy from Sing For Joy


Ali Crowell

Russell Draeger & Ellen Draeger Cattadoris, our two favorite Oles

John Ferguson

Sonja Hagestuen, celebrating the legacy of her music in the life of First Lutheran Church!

Jackie and Jerry Hanson

Mr. William Holbrook

Memorial Day Vets

Mrs. Linda Nehr

Pastor John Wertz, St. Michael Lutheran Church in Blacksburg, Va.

To include an honorarium or memorial when you give to Sing For Joy, simply include the name(s) and occasion(s) in the comment box, as well as who should receive an acknowledgement letter and a mailing address.

Donations can celebrate a personal milestone such as an anniversary or birthday, or honor a loved one who perhaps also enjoyed music, all while furthering the Sing For Joy mission to bring sacred choral music to listeners around the world.

Sing For Joy is sponsored by:

Sukup Manufacturing Co., St. Olaf College, and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA)